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Fielding the Field is the first large-scale architectural instillation by Ben Warwas.
It provides a unique view into his world. The instillation is accompanied by his short film “Lobos is not ready to make friends yet” 2005 and a site-specific mural in the downtown area of Pueblo. The film is mounted on a small flat screen in the gallery. It was chosen because it offers a similar other worldly experience that Ben works with frequently. The Mural downtown is painted in an ally way that is surrounded by brick buildings; the larger of the two has a series of murals on it. Ben’s mural uses the same pattern as in the gallery but at a more vertical angle. What is unique about the mural is instead of using the wall as a blank canvas, he paints only the bricks and not the grout. So the pattern becomes part of the building and the building becomes part of the mural, you see both of them simultaneously.
The gallery has been divided in to two halves by the existing columns and a screen installed by the artist. You enter the gallery to a large open space that is flanked by a mural on one side and a screen on the other side. This large open space is exaggerated in size by these two elements: The mural is one shape repeated and connected and is playfully colored in with no conceivable thought process. The screen is a similar pattern but in collides with the floor and the ceiling as if it continues on beyond the gallery’s constraints. As you move through this half of the space you realize that the screen completely flattens all the space behind it: turning the gallery into a 2D drawing. When you move beyond the screen, (the shapes have been installed about door distance apart) you are now in a space with nothing on the walls but the floor is peppered with sculptures painted the same color as the floor. They are camouflaged just enough to cause you to make sure you do not step on them. You navigate between the sculptures to the back of the gallery; from here you can see everything in the gallery. But now the large open space you were initially in has been completely flattened into 2D drawing. The only thing delineating three-dimensional space in this view is the columns but a brick wallpaper has been applied to them just above the picture molding. This adds to the playfulness and questions if they are part of the instillation or actual structural part of the building. From the back of the gallery all the aspects come together playfully turning the gallery into a simple pattern drawing with the people behind the screen becoming part of the drawing.
During the opening some of the attendees were dressed in the outfits from the film “Lobos is not ready to make friends yet”. These geometric fully masked outfits create inhabit the instillation as if it’s their home. Lobos may not be ready to make friends yet but he has found a home.
Overall Ben Warwas invokes a very playful surreal experience with nothing more than cardboard and paint. As you experience the gallery space and 3D and 2D experiences. The parts of the gallery that should be 3D become 2D and the assumed 2D parts of the gallery grow into three-dimensional shapes. It invokes questions about space and how we perceive it.
Colorado State University Peublo Fine Art Gallery.
March 27th-April 3rd, 2015
Mural, Downtown, Permanent
Curator: Caroline Peters